A wave of emotions come over a Mama when she realizes another baby will be joining the family. How can I possibly love another human as much as I do my first baby? How am I going to be able to share time between them? How am I going to be able to take care of everyone in my family? How am I going to be able to handle my work load and family load? How do I help my older child adjust to a new baby? We are here to give you some tips and resources for adjusting to a new family. These ideas come from our own experiences of bringing home new babies. We want to chat with you about how to make the transition a bit easier for your whole family.
- Break the news to kids to prepare them. “Sometimes Moms and Dads decide to have another baby.”
- Include your children in the process. Take them to doctors visits or when baby kicks have them feel it.
- Visit other families with babies so they can get used to being around babies. Also I’ve heard of people getting baby dolls to have to get them prepared.
- Prepare them that when you have the baby someone else is going to be watching them ex. grandma and grandpa
- Bribe them with gifts. This seriously works so the toddler wont get jealous. Make sure to wrap some gifts for them to get when the baby comes home. That way they wont feel left out when people come by with gifts for the baby.
- When baby arrives include them as helpers whenever possible. Could you hand me that diaper? Do you want to see baby sleep? Do you want to help me hold the bottle?
- Give them a dedicated 10-15 minutes a day. It might not seem like an awful long time but even that little amount of time dedicated to them is more than most children get with their parents. They will feel special like they’ve got time with their Mama and it is still normal.
- Let them take care in an age appropriate way - When my daughter would share her blanket with the little baby or give her one of her books or bottles or cups - she felt like the best big sister and as if she was taking care of her.
- Talk for your baby. Ex. when the baby squeezes your finger she’s saying that she loves you.
- Spread the praise. When someone says oh my gosh the baby is so cute say oh, just like their big sister!
- DAD can be a huge help! Let them get more involved than they may have been with baby number one. They’ve done it before now they know what to expect! They can always take the toddler on an outing or to do something fun.
- Allow people who offer to take your older child or children to go out and do something fun.
- Your kids may watch a little more TV than before so you can nurse the baby.
- Do as much meal prep/organizing as you can.
- Invest in a good baby wearing system - I lived wearing my baby this last go around. It left room to snuggle with the others.
- Before baby - get someone to clean your house. Pay for, ask a family member, whatever.
- EXPECTATIONS: Things will take a little time to get everyone used to each other. Regression can happen. My oldest went back to wanting a bottle when i had my middle child and I let it happen because I was tired as heck. If you are potty training they may begin to regress and go back to that.
- LET THEM STILL BE BABIES - it’s hard but allow your toddler to be a little frustrated and be sympathetic to what they are going through. Ex. I know this is really hard and you don’t want me to hold the baby right now…
- YOU KNOW A LITTLE MORE - Something positive is the second time is much easier as far as you already know what to expect. Nursing was 100 x easier the second time and you know not to expect to sleep so I think that actually makes the no sleep easier. While there will still be a lot of question marks like wait… when do I start to feed them and how much do I need to feed them? The basics are there. You figure out what actually matters and what doesn’t. Which brings me to the next point.
- YOU DON’T NEED TO BE MRS. CLEAVER You can’t do it ALL when you have multiples. You will go insane. You have to be less of a helicopter Mom. You are more laid back. The older one might not get their mouth wiped off perfectly when they are done smashing food into it. Or, the little one might eat a sticker. But, it’s normal and neither of these items make you a better or worse mom if they happen or don’t happen.
- IT’S OKAY TO CRY - You will feel guilty and question if you are doing anything right. It doesn’t matter if this is your 2nd or 5th kid. Each child is so different and brings about their own challenges. I cried and cried before having my second because I felt like I was taking away from my oldest.
- CHAOS MAY FEEL LIKE THE NEW NORM- Kids might not nap at the same time… and if they do you should get a medal.
“A sibling is your only enemy you can’t live without.”
“ The greatest gift our parents ever gave us was each other”